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An Australian Wellness Blogger Has Been Fined $322,000 for Lying About Having Cancer

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An Australian wellness blogger and author who admitted to faking a cancer diagnosis on which she built a massive lifestyle brand, has been fined about $322,000 for misleading conduct.

Belle Gibson first became famous after claiming she had cured her terminal brain cancer with nutrition and alternative remedies, before confessing in 2015 that the cancer was a complete fabrication. Gibson launched a mobile app and publish a cookbook based on the tale that she beat the odds and enhanced her quality of life. According to the BBC, she claimed to have relied on a mix of oxygen therapy, Ayurvedic medicine and a diet without gluten and refined sugar.

The BBC reports that Gibson’s app and cookbook, both called The Whole Pantry, earned her almost $330,000 which she pledged to give to charity. But allegations that she failed to donate the money, as well as emerging inconsistencies around her story, led to her admission that “none of it’s true.” Her former publisher, Penguin, withdrew all copies of her book.

She was found guilty of five counts of violating consumer law in March, the BBC reports. At the time of the ruling, a judge reportedly said that Gibson may have “genuinely” believed in her own claims, and could have been under “delusions” about the state of her health. However, Justice Debbie Mortimer also said in March that “her ‘pitch’ overwhelmingly used groups likely to evoke sympathy because of their vulnerabilities — young girls, asylum seekers, sick children.”

Gibson did not appear in court Thursday to hear the penalty, according to the BBC.


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